Robert Russell Hutchinson was born August 28th, 1870. His parents were Robert and Anne Cooper – who married on the Isle of Wight. In 1871, they were living with Anne’s parents at Carisbroke Rd, IOW. In 1881, R R Hutchinson was away at school at Speen, Berkshire (parents were resident in Oxford).
By 1891, he and the family (two sisters and two brothers) were in Tunbridge wells (and his father was working as a bank clerk). In 1901, he was living at Princes Street in Tunbridge Wells with his mother and aunt. In 1911, he was living in Andover and lodging with William and Louisa Higgins.
His working life was spent in the service of Westminster bank – partly at Tunbridge Wells but also at Wallingford. From his earliest times, he was interested in natural history – and particularly botany; he was a member of the BSBI from 1923 until his death.
He was an active member of the Tunbridge Wells Natural History and Philosophical Society – being secretary of that body from 1899 to 1909. Whilst at Wallingford, he founded a small museum and also acted as its curator. Quote from the Wallingford Museum website “In the 1920s, R R Hutchinson, manager of the Wallingford Westminster Bank, established a small museum in the Free Library, St Leonard’s Square. When he moved away in the 1930s, the museum closed and the contents were given to the Town Council for safe keeping.”
Hutchinson was described as “the kindliest and most charming of men”. He was a keen church goer, and had an extensive knowledge of church history, luturgiology and ecclesiology.
When he retired, he moved to Croydon where he established yet another museum (in connexion with a local church); he was curator to the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. There was a herbarium associated with this, which included his own specimens and also two bound volumes by J Breach. Breach collected (mainly) around Winchester in 1830’s.
Also present were sheets from the herbarium from an ‘unknown / unidentified’ collector IJB – contemporaneous with Breach but seemingly not connected with him. IJB collected in and around London, but also received material from Leyland, and possibly Smith (J) and Bennett (E T). IJB sheets / specimens may be seen at H@H – click here. The Breach books and various sheets were incorporated into the CNHSS collection and eventually many passed to SLBI. Details of Breach material at H@H – click here.
RRH’s letter from Science Gossip was printed in response to the query below :
Source material : various census returns, ‘Science Gossip’ and archive material from the BSBI website.